I'm on the plane now, flying out to Belfast for a nice environmental portrait, having negotiated airport security at Stansted Airport. I have all the gear with me that I packed but it could all have been so very different.
Stansted Airport security has always had a bit of a curse on it where I'm concerned - it is rarely smooth and I once missed a flight while waiting in a queue for more than an hour.
1 x Canon 5d mkII with 'L' series 24 -105mm F4 lens, Fuji X100 (as back up) 2 x Canon Speedlights, Pocket Wizard TT5's, 2 x Manfrotto 5001B lightstands, two Lastolite reflective brollies (perfect for the job in hand) and 2 x Elinchrom Quadra systems, which all fit inside my Manfrotto Lino bag.
As I packed my bag a little voice in my head said 'why take the Speedlites as well as the Quadra's ?'
I'm now pleased I did, because this choice could have saved the day.
At security my well packed bag was subjected to an extra through fingertip search post scan, and was swabbed for explosives as per usual.
But this guy was beyond thorough.
I was polite and helpful.
Clock ticking, time to departure getting uncomfortably close.
Then he 'found' the Quadra packs and started a minute examination.
All clear - then he started to read the labels on the pack, where he found the words 'Lead Acid Gel'
'You can't fly with this'
'Oh really?' I replied 'I fly with it all the time and I believe it is safe to fly with'
'I'm going to take these to my supervisor' he said
I eavesdropped on the prolonged debate which swung back and forth between the powers that be, between a 'yes' and a 'no'
They let me through in the end but with more than a sideways glance - leaving me to run to the gate and make the plane by the skin of my teeth.
I understand their concern, lead acid batteries per se can be an issue but I understood gel to be different.
Lithium Ion is and issue too which they are even more stringent about.
I think Elinchrom have a certificate/document for download to show the security guys at airports.
I will be checking this one out pronto to ensure this does not happen again, or at least give my argument more of a persuasive fighting chance.